I find that my enthusiasm for freshness gets the better of me and I occasionally buy too much. What!? You too? So last night I was reassessing and looking at the new veggies I picked up at the store. I needed to get carrots and celery for my soup, and now I have extra. Have you ever purchased these soup stock must-haves, only to find that you only needed two of each and the others got soft and rubbery?
So I went on the search for answers to keeping my leftover veggies fresh until I use them up. With the carrots and celery I discovered that the answer was water. Yup ~ water.
Let’s start back a step. When you come home from the store you should store each fresh item carefully. That means that some go in the fridge, some go in your pantry, and some go on the counter or a food storage shelf. There are a number of good produce charts out there http://cleangreensimple.com/2011/05/storing-food-and-produce/. This one from Clean Green Simple is user friendly and can be printed for easy posting in some easy place in your kitchen.
I found that I was storing a lot of things in the wrong place and when I corrected this, they lasted longer. Storing tomatoes incorrectly was my first big mistake. I always put them in the fridge! Oops! No more. They are stored on the counter. Frankly, I use them so quickly now that they are seldom there very long! My other big mistake was storing my potatoes and onions together. I have baskets for these on a food rack. Well, I used to have ONE basket, but now I have two!
When I get home from the store, I try my best to store my produce properly now. I also clean and prepare my produce for easy use when I need it. Now some things should NOT be washed until use, but some can be. The above chart gives good information on this too. Remember that I am obsessive and read about each one of nature’s gifts separately, so I look for guidance on choosing and storing when I do this research.
So what about the celery and carrots, you ask? I have sadly thrown away too many of these in the past. Here is what I read from more than one source, tried, and works for me. I prepare the celery and cut it into logs, if you will. The carrots are peeled, prepped and also cut. Each must be stored on its own, of course. Put the carrots in a container, add water until they are covered, and put on a lid. Do the same with the celery. When you are ready, they will be too.
I understand this will keep them fresh up to two weeks, though I confess I have never stored them that long. Do change the water every couple of days. The better care you take of your precious produce, the fresher and more delicious it will be.
The best produce is fresh and healthy but it is also fragile and perishable. When you can, buy and use your fresh goods immediately. When you need to store, even for a week between trips to the Farmers’ Market, do it well so your investment is preserved. It is not only a financial investment, but one of good health!
Next time you come home with fresh goods . . . handle with care!
And, as always ~ ENJOY!